PHNOM PENH (Cambodia Herald) - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy called Monday for the Cambodian government to give "full support" to China's territorial claims over the disputed Paracel and Spratly archipelagos in the South China Sea.
The islands are also claimed in whole or in part by fellow ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as Taiwan.
"In order to express its gratitude to the People's Republic of China which has extended support for decades, Cambodia must, in return, give its full support to the People's Republic of China through its One China policy and the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said a Chinese New Year message.
The rare message from the opposition leader, who is in self-exile, said that Cambodian-Chinese people were a major part of Cambodia's population and made an active contribution to the prosperity of the country.
"Since 1955, when King Father Norodom Sihanouk met for the first time in Bandung, Indonesia, with Zhou Enlai, the then Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, Cambodia has always depended on the support of China, which is the first great friend of Cambodia," he said.
Sam Rainsy claims Chinese ancestry through a great great grandfather who emigrated to Cambodia around 100 years ago.